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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 26, 2014 11:00pm-1:01am EDT

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vermont. and you can conjecture and speculate as to why those two states allow that. but i do believe that maine and vermont, somebody can correct me if it's wrong, those two states allow you to vote while you're in prison. and i think that everybody -- that's right, that's right. >> vermont, which is the other state? >> maine. >> maine. you have to be eating lobster or cheese or something at the same time. i yield the balance of my time, thank you. >> thank you. we still have some time left, so i'll now recognize myself for five minutes. both mr. jones and mr. heck have said that we should repeal all mandatory collateral consequences that apply across the board. now, one part of federal law prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from
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possessing a firearm. do you believe that congress should repeal this law? >> as far as my position is concerned, again, the aba has not taken on position on that. i think we have to look again at the individual involved and the individual crime. so for example, we've had cases, and domestic violence is something that's certainly on my radar screen personally and my office. something just like child abuse that we take very seriously. when we have a domestic violence case i think we have to look, is that person an owner of guns? or does that person use a gun? i think those are the distinctions that have to be made. i think a broad -- simply designation of someone who owns a gun should never be able to own a gun again i think has to be looked at very seriously. as opposed to using a gun in domestic violence. and i have no problem with that person not being allowed to own a gun. >> so do you think the current
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law which applies to misdemeanors as well as felonies is a good law? >> depending on the circumstance. >> okay. >> depending on the circumstance. >> so it shouldn't be -- >> i'd have to look -- >> it shouldn't be across the board? >> i don't think it should be across the board. >> mr. jones? >> mandatory, automatic, across the board consequences ought be repealed and we ought to be looking at individual tailoring the denial of opportunities to individual circumstances and individual -- and individuals, individual people. it should not be across the board, automatic, mandatory. >> i'm kind of surprised. i think the nra would agree with both of you on this. let me ask you another question in the time that i have left. when i first was elected to congress, my wife and i owned a two-family house that was across the street from an elementary school. and we lived in one half of it and i rented out the other half.
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say somebody came and applied -- was a person who was a recognized minority, applied to live in the other half and i found out before leasing it to them that they were registered sex offenders. could my denial of housing because they were registered sex offenders, not because they were persons or color or protected minority, be a defense in a fair housing complaint? >> not in ohio. because they would not be allowed to live there in ohio. you lived right across the street from a school? >> i did. >> no, in ohio -- and that's been going on, an increase in the number of feet as well as the number of instances where a convicted sex offender may live. it started out within so many feet of a school. so many feet of a bus stop.
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so many feet of a day care. so many feet from where children will be. so many -- so that has become more broad. however, in the specific instance that you mentioned, no, because under ohio law they would not be permitted to live there anyway. we've had cases like that. my office has, on the civil side, which we also represent, have actually ordered people to move and have got eviction notices for people, and orders to have them move out because of close proximity to schools. >> so if i was accused of denying housing under the state or federal fair housing law because i denied them the lease because i lived across the street from the school, in ohio i could go to the district attorney and have him represent me against the fair housing complaint? >> well, under ohio law, we cannot represent an individual
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interest. but i can assure you we would stand right next to you from the standpoint that that convicted sexual offender should not live there. >> mr. jones. >> let me say two things about the sex offender issue. and if you look in our report you will see that not only prosecuting attorneys who work in this area but also individuals who are responsible for administering state sex offender registries say the same thing, two points. the first is that anyone is more likely to be abused in that manner by someone within the four corners of their -- four walls of their home than they are by someone who is either delivering their mail or cutting their grass. you're much more likely to be molested or abused in some way by someone who's under your roof. and secondly, the overwhelming majority of arrests in these types of cases are by first offenders. the number of people who are sexual predators who are serial
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offenders is very small. it's not -- so that these prosecutors and these people who run these sexual registries, what they say is that the residency restrictions that we placed on these folks are wrongheaded and don't make sense and are actually counterproductive because you're more likely to have a problem with -- with uncle sam than you are with -- with the guy who's delivering your mail. >> okay. well, my time is expired. i want to thank all of the witnesses for your testimony and good answers to questions. thank the members for participating. does anybody wish to put printed material into the record? gentleman from alabama. mike, please. >> i'm sorry. i asked permission to submit testimony in the record from mr. jesse will on behalf of justice fellowship, which is an
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indianapolis son fellowship ministry, which offers his perspective on the challenges of re-entering society after he served a sentence for a criminal offense. >> without objection. >> thank you. >> gentleman from virginia, mr. scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i ask that the testimony from the robert f. kennedy center for justice and human rights bernard kerik, piper kerman, lamont carrie, anthony pleasant, and reports from the sentencing project, state-level estimates of dellny disenfranchisement in the united states 2010, and from a report from the sentencing project, lifetime of punishment, the impact of felony drug ban on welfare benefits, all be placed in the record. >> without objection. and if there's no further business to come before the task force, without objection, the task force stands adjourned. >> thank you.
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the supreme court has ruled in a case deal with president obama's freedom to make recess appointments. what did the court decide? tell us about the details of the ruling. >> yeah, essentially they said that president obama overstepped when he appointed three members to the national labor relations board in 2012 while congress or the senate said it was in a recess. basically, the court and all nine justices believe that that was a violation of the constitution recess appointment clause. >> now lead others capitol hill have responded to the decision. we have reaction from senate majority leader harry reed and minority leader mitch mcconnell. we'll look at both, then i'd like to get your take on their
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comments. we'll start with majority leader reed. he says since the november reform the senate has been confirming qualified nominees at a steady pace and today's ruling will have no effect on our ability to continue ensuring qualified nominees receive an up or down vote. majority leader reed. this from senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. a unanimous supreme court has rejected this brazen power grab. all americans should be grateful for the court's rebuke of the administration. what's your take on both of those remarks? >> well, i think they both have a point. mr. mcconnell is right that this was a rebuke to presidential authority. this essentially boils down to a dispute between the legislative branch and the executive branch and the legislative branch won, in that the court found limits to the president's recess appointment powers. but lead eer reid is right, at least in the time being, this may not have practically a big effect on nominees.
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as he notes the senate changed their rules in what was known as the nuclear option. and that allows most nominees to move forward with basically a simple majority rather than a larger number of senators backing that nomination. so as long as the president's party controls the senate, the president is likely to have his way with nominees. >> has there been reaction from the white house? >> not yet. but the national labor relations board, the agency at the center of all this, did issue a response just a few minutes ago saying that it would now be reviewing the decision and any decisions that it would have to revisit. some suggest that there are hundreds or even thousands, but more likely hundreds, of decisions that were made by the court when it was unconstitutionally structured, so those would have to be revisited. >> so will this ruling then have any impact on past nominations,
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including the national labor relations board members who were the subject of the supreme court case? or is this only going to affect future nominations? >> well, that remains to be seen. but likely the latter. because at least in the case with the national -- nlrb, those members have been reconfirmed in the traditional fashion by the senate. so there's no issue there. it's -- interestingly, the conservatives on the court would have gone farther to limit presidential recess powers to only between sessions rather than during recesses within sessions of congress. and the majority led by justice breyer suggested that if the conservatives led by mr. scalia had their way, there would be countless numbers of nominations and appointments in the past that would be now thrown into
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question. >> you can read ben goad's work at tweet him at ben underscore goad. thanks for your time today. >> you bet. constitutional law attorneys will talk about the impact of some of this term's u.s. supreme court cases. they'll also weigh in on the court's two remaining cases which will be announced on the last day of the term which is on monday. we'll have live coverage from the american constitution society at 9:30 eastern here on c-span3. now house intelligence chair mike rogers talks about the violence and instability in iraq. congressman rogers spoke to reporters at an event hosted by "the "christian science monitor."" >> representative mike rogers, chairman of the house select committee on intelligence, this is his first visit with our group and we appreciate his starting his morning this way. he grew up in michigan,
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graduated from adrian college there. after serving in the army our guest became an fbi special agent, specializing in public corruption cases in chicago. he returned to michigan in '94 and was elected to the state senate the next year, rising to become majority floor leader. in 2000 he won by a resounding 111 votes, a hotly contested race for the house seat being vee rated and has been re-elected handily to six additional terms. this march he announced he would be leaving congress at the end of the current term to host a radio program by cumulus media. as always we're on the record here. please no live blogging or tweeting, in short no filing of any kind while the breakfast is under way, to give us a chance to actually listen to our guest. there's no embargo when the session ends. as regular attendees know, if you'd like to ask a question,
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please do the traditional thing and send me a subtle nonthreatening signal. raised eyebrow, finger wave, careful there, whatever have you, i'll happily call on one and all. then move to questions from around the table. thanks again, mr. chairman, appreciate it. >> thank you very much. thanks for the opportunity. i appreciate the invite. thank you for lowering your standards and letting a house member in. we appreciate that very much. i just thought i'd just real quickly go around the world briefly. just to let you know the challenges that i think face not only the u.s. intelligence services but our defense and what that -- those of us who are often crying about our security matr matrix, the threat matrix, being so varied and so deep and so wide it makes us -- all of us not sleep at night. as a matter of fact, look at me, i'm only 25 years old, look what this job has done to me. one of the things, if you look at both strategic and immediate threats, so the strategic side
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you still have a north korea that's pursuing nuclear weapons, very clearly it's doing that. it's working to perfect its missile systems in a way that is very, very concerning. you recall it was about a year ago when they stood up a missile and were bragging about the thought that they had the capability of hitting the western united states. pretty serious i think threat to the united states that got washed over by all the other threats that we face. china has been very, very aggressive in militarization of space. and they are very aggressive about investment in technology, certainly to try to mute the strength of our u.s. naval forces around the world. then once those things happen you watch their aggressiveness in the south china sea. and that is clearly something that is concerning and i think it's a growing tension. i still believe that between vietnam and japan, there will be
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some maritime skirmish within the next 24 months. and i don't think it will be huge, but i do think that there will be a maritime skirmish between either vietnam or japan with china in their pursuit to push out their boundaries in the south china sea. that's significant, about 40% of the world's trade goes through the south china sea. we've been as a u.s. navy been there since we've been a country. and so when china starts telling us that the u.s. navy want be in the south china sea that's a huge and significant strategic threat to the united states and certainly our economic prowess in the world. clearly russia, you can just turn on the tv and see where they're at. they've spent the last ten years in that rise of oil money, investing in their military, modernizing their military, professionalizing their special forces. that has, as you can see, has proved to be a valuable investment for them when it comes to -- the fact that they were able to glide through an
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annex, crimea, and their activities in eastern ukraine are certainly troubling. and it shows you that the payoff of their investment, and they know and it they understand it. they continue to invest in their navy modernization. they've dropped some submay reebs in the water that are very, very sophisticated. very high-tech. we hadn't seen that since the early '90s. so they're making an investment in their ability to project power around the world. when you look at where we are on al qaeda, this is the one that worries me most, this is the one -- the most immediate threat is this proliferation of al qaeda fail yates with capabilities and intentions to strike outside of their areas of operation. so clearly when you look at what's happening in iraq, and it started in syria by the way. we need to be clear about that. we watched this development of
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al qaeda in eastern syria for three years. we watched them pool up in ways that we'd never seen before. we watched them recruit in ways we've never seen before. when i say recruit in ways we've never seen before, i mean successfully. in other words, they were gaining strength really by the day, by the month. and the longer it went where there was no disruption, the more aggressive they became. and about a year, year and a half ago, you talk the tensions start between the islamic state in iraq and the la vant and al newsra front. many argued they thought they were so brutal, they wouldn't be part of al qaeda. it's pretty hard to argue that an organization that's participated in beheadings and stoning of women and flying airplanes into buildings would find anyone more brutal than themselves. it was really about control. zawahiri was trying to exert some control over the isio leadership, was just having a
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difficult time doing it. they believed that if you're going to be in this fight, you want to whole land toward a caliphate. the disagreement was valzawahir telling them, we want you, isio, to focus in iraq, not syria, and don't do external operations. the concerning part of that conversation was that the reason isio wanted to do external operations is because they had such a large number of foreigners with western passports working with them. they saw that as a huge opportunity to conduct very easily and quickly operations in europe, in the united states. zawahiri thought it was too soon. and he wanted them to focus in iraq. so now what you see is they apparently decided to focus in iraq. so that split where they decertified al qaeda, i would look at it as two organized crime families in chicago,
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right? at the end of the day their goals and intentions are exactly the same. if they can work together, they're going to work together. if they're going to fight about it, they'll fight about it. but at the end of the day they're brutal criminal organizations, in this case terrorist organizations. they're functioning the same way. so al newsstra has been reaching out, public reports about them reaching out to aqap in yemen. yemen, the yemenese leadership -- the aqap leadership, not the government leadership, is looking for ways to have success in an external operation. they believe that's important. remember, they were the first ones to hold territory in the south of yemen that they believe was the initiation of their ability to create and hold a caliphate. so you have all of these new relationships happening in a way that's really concerning. al shabaab as you know about two years ago, we were able to establish the relationship between al shabaab and aqap.
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they were trying to get their branch down in northern africa. and you see the activity all across northern africa. i won't go into all those details, take too long. i hope you get a better picture that this al qaeda threat is getting worse by the day, not better by the day. and the fact that they hold $1 billion in cash and gold bullion, and if you think about 9/11 took about $200,000 and maybe a year and a half of planning, that's a lot of dangerous cash laying in the kitty. these folks aren't worried about building schools and roads and taking care of public services. they're worried about killing and trying to dominate individuals across iraq, syria. they'd love to take lebanon. now they're on the border of jordan, they're on the border of israel. this is as bad a situation as you could possibly imagine. and with that i think we all should have a drink. >> have a stiff orange juice. in the "monitor" tradition. let me ask one or two and we'll
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move to my colleagues. let me start you something closer to home. you remember the house republican leadership team. what lesson or message, if any, do you take from the triumph of thad cochran and the loss of tancredo? does it say anything to you about where things are going in the republican party or is it just all politics are local and there's no message? >> hannah survived. >> yeah, hannah survived. listen, despite what you might see portrayed, the republican party is a big tent party. and parties are coalitions. if you travel overseas and you see parliaments, those are made up of these wildly different coalitions of cobbling certain groups and philosophies together to form a governing body. here in america we do it with two parties and in those two parties are just a tremendous amount of coalitions. that's the way our parties have really operated for a long time. so what you're seeing now is a filtering out and a struggle and
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a healthy debate about which of those coalitions gets more seats in the republican party than the other coalitions. and i thought it was -- at the end of the day i think americans are ready for some governance. this last five years has been so devastating to the middle class, it's been devastating to energy prices, it's been devastating to our national security, it's been devastating to their own health care. they're looking for some leadership. and sometimes that means people forming a coalition that means you're going to get something done. i think the elections showed across the country that people are ready for that. they're ready for a change in the way the country's being governed and i think that's what you saw happen last night and over the last few months. >> let me ask you one other, and that's obviously about intelligence. your counterpart in the senate, senator feinstein, has been critical about the level of detail and quality of briefing that has been provided by the administration. yesterday on a conference call,
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an intelligence official said that the american intelligence agencies had provided "strategic warning that isis was growing. sus your sense that you've been well served in terms of the isis intelligence you've been getting? >> you know, about two years ago i was -- i and others were ramping up this notion we had to do something in eastern syria. i did an op ed on it. i talked about it. i came to those conclusions based on the intelligence that was afforded to the committee. as a consumer of intelligence. so we get it all. sometimes it's raw. it doesn't draw the conclusion that isis on this day is going to do this. we get all the raw intelligence. so we can come to those conclusions ourselves. it was very clear to me that years ago, isio or isis was pooling up in a dangerous way. building training camps.
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recruiting. drawing in jihadists from around the world. we saw all of that happening. then -- remember, we talked for a long time. nothing happened to disrupt that. then we saw them cross the border and go into fallujah. nothing happened. that was six, eight months ago. so some notion that we wouldn't have seen this coming means that you weren't paying attention to the intelligence that was afforded us. you know. could they have come and up said, hey, we're going to give you the fallujah update? maybe, maybe not. but nothing happened when they crossed the border. nothing happened when they took fallujah. nothing happened when they took most mosul. nothing happened when they took tikrit. then they said, oop, we've got a problem. i don't know, i think that is really an unfair assessment of what we knew and how we watched it develop. they clearly stated their intentions. we knew what their intentions were. they clearly were arming and training. we saw that. so maybe they didn't say they're
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crossing the berm on this day, but boy, it would be hard-press tuesday you didn't pay attention to this intelligence to come to the conclusion something bad is happening here. >> so your complaint isn't intelligence, it's how the administration responded to the intelligence? >> not responding is a decision. not making a decision is a decision. and again, i have been pretty vocal in the last two years about trying to bring this problem to the attention of the public on why we needed to do something in syria. because of the potential. now, did we know they were going into iraq? i'm not sure. clearly they want lebanon, they want jordan, they want israel, they want all of syria, and they do want iraq. so it was very clear they were going to try to expand their interests from eastern syria. it was a safe haven for two and a half years. >> jeff? >> mr. chairman, a couple of senators said yesterday after the closed-door briefing, classified briefing, that the
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threat to the homeland is more urgent than it seemed last week. and one senator said that if you -- anyone who walked out of the briefing could not quibble with the fact that there is an urgent and dire threat to the homeland here. do you agree with that, and how urgent is that threat? >> i do. and remember how we come to this conclusion. so we knew -- remember, the fight a year and a half ago was, do we do external operations against the united states and europe or not? zawahiri said, focus on iraq. the very fact that they're having the discussion sends a chill down my spine. that means somebody is in an operational status trying to put together something that would look like something that could get the green light. including access to people who had western passports. right? that's the most dangerous thing. you fly to germany and you're a german citizen, you're flying to the united states, you don't need a visa. right? that's a problem. that's a big problem for us. or any other country in the eu
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or vice versa. so what we've seen now is they're a little bit drunk on their own success. they understand, as a matter of fact, an interesting -- i read an interesting report recently. that baghdadi was talking about the fact that zawahiri, if he were to come to syria or iraq, would have to pay did he ever rence to him, to baghdadi, because he is the only one establishing a land-based caliphate. you think of that mentality. that's a scary mentality. they both want the same exact thing. they both want to attack the united states. they're going to go about it in maybe different ways. with access to these western passports and their stated intention to commit acts of terror beyond their areas of operation, that is why -- i wasn't in the senate briefing but i imagine that's what those senators walked out thinking, this is pretty bad.
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and they have complete safe haven. there's nothing to disrupt their activity. they can plan it, finance it, train for it. the training camps have been unabetted for years. just let it go. that's how you get to this place where you wonder, you know, we're in some trouble. and of course the most recent court ruling that says you can't have a no-fly list. perfect. that's a great recipe for disaster. there was a federal ruling i think yesterday on that. >> in oregon. >> was it oregon? >> it was oregon. it was the federal district court for the district of oregon. we might as well get you to say a little more about it. said that the procedures for putting someone on the no-fly list were inadequate, violated the fifth amendment right to due process, called on the homeland security department to provide more information to people about why they're on the list and also ways for getting off the list. you would disagree with that? >> so we have, according to public reports, an organization trying to build bombs that
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circumvent security. they're working with another organization, according to public reports, that, in syria, that have expressed an interest in trying to show their chops by having an international terrorist attack. now you just had a judge rule that you can't put someone on a no-fly list. you tell me why i can't sleep at night. right? that makes no sense whatsoever. by the way, the international community has no-fly lists. that means you'll just be able to fly domestically. congratulations. that is about the worst of all -- that makes no sense to me whatsoever. if they want to refine them, maybe they can do that. and they ought to look at refining them fairly quickly. i hope the case is appealed and the decision is stayed, only for the purposes of making sure we have the opportunity to, if you have a pretty good idea that somebody has an ill intention on that aircraft that you can keep them off the aircraft. >> we're going to go next to maureen, then to ken, then to
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john. maureen? >> the comment about the coalition within the republican party and the debate going on about which group has more seats, do you see when you leave congress and you're in your -- doing your radio show, one of the things you're trying to accomplish in that show is to try did push the party in a particular direction, to get one of those groups to be more successful than the other? if so, which one? >> my goal has always been -- as a productive conservative, which means you actually accomplish something. so when coalitions are tearing themselves apart it's really hard to form a governing majority. i look back at some of the fights that have happened within the republican conference and how much money we let get spent because we couldn't agree on the exact amount. so rather than get half of what you wanted, because of the way the conference was fighting amongst itself, we got zero. right? so we couldn't agree that were 42 job training programs, needed
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to be 26. people said 26 is too many. so you know how many we ended up with? whatever it was. 42. that is not productive governing conservatism, in my mind. so i think there's just a way we can focus our efforts to get the government to look a lot more the way i think most conservatives want it to look, which is lean and mean. not mean in that term. but lean in the sense that it's functioning, not wasting money, that it takes care of people who need it, but doesn't do things the federal government shouldn't be doing. you know, if we're together as a force, i think there's a lot of that we could have accomplished in the last two years that we just left on the table. and that's, to me, is unfortunate. we fight about some of the things in my mind that are small potatoes. if we could come to an agreement on bigger, broader limited government issues that we just couldn't quite get consensus on. for this notion that we're going
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to have a perfect score, roo it? you have to have a perfect score. i don't know anywhere in life that works, including the u.s. government. >> ken? >> i think you just alluded to this. can you say a little more about the intelligence that suggests that bomb-making expertise from yemen has migrated from syria and they're working on perfecting bombs that can get past security in that seems to be driving the threat jeff was asking about. how serious a threat is that? have they perfected a bomb that can get past -- that's better than the underwear bomb? are qap people in syria right now? >> well, if you look at the -- i can't confirm any specific reports. but here's what we look at that's in the public domain. and i think it's fair to draw a conclusion from what's in the public domain. you have aqap who has designed the ink cartridge bombs. remember those. they were going to detonate, i forget how many now, eight or 11, whatever it was, nine, in
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different airplanes over the oceans. right? that was their goal. and these cartridges were designed to circumvent security. some good intelligence work, we were able to shut that particular operation down. we know that they never stop trying to design explosives that circumvent security. so the underwear bomber was a great example. that was another iteration on december 25th that they thought that they could get through security and set off on an airplane. and candidly, but for a quarter of an inch of a sir rimplg pull, that plane would have blown and up we would have killed thousands of people in their homes. it flies over a very populated area of detroit into its landing zone. you'd have had all that equipment falling through the houses while people were sleeping in their beds. this was not just the airplane itself, which would have been horrific, but the ground damage would have been significant. so that was their second iteration. well, we know that they haven't
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given up on the notion that they're going to develop something that circumvents security and gets on an airplane. that's just the fact of the matter. so now you see those things and you see this relationship that started very early in 2013. and some of it by the way was to mediate. you know, in the beginning before this decision came down to decertify isil as an al qaeda affiliate, they tried to mend their fences. as a matter of fact, all of the al qaeda leadership was saying, you need to fix this. they didn't want to lose these very aggressive fighters who shoot people in the head. that's a value to them. scares us. that's a badge of honor for them. they wanted to keep those folk in the fold. couldn't work out. so now you have al nusra, who also -- that's the other group in eastern syria that is an al qaeda affiliate that has expressed an interest in external operations, and you know there's a relationship between aqap and el nusra,
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including what we think intermediaries and the like. that in itself would allow any logical person to come to the conclusion, we have a problem. right? we have a definite problem, and we know that al qaeda in the past shares technical expertise on ieds, how to circumvent security -- surveillance, and all the things that come with those conversations of how not to be a target of the u.s. or our allies. we now -- you can draw your own conclusion with that bit of information. i'll tell you, this is worrying me a lot. >> why does the public have to draw their own conclusion on that? i understand you have sources and methods. but this basic fact, if it's a fact -- >> it's -- the sources and methods and how information -- certain information is obtained and how we want to protect the ability to continue to find out information that may in fact stop an event to me would be
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very, very important to protect those ways so that if there is a threat information -- by the way, if you remember the leak that happened with the bomber, remember the a. qap bombing thing, there was a pretty significant leak about the bomb. we saw real changes in realtime about that leak that really did disrupt u.s. and our allies' ability to collect information on aqap. it cost us a long time. as a matter of fact, some of it we may never get back. so those things are -- it was just the procedure about who, what, when and how got leaked. and it changed the way they operated. to the point where we lost our ability to see some things. that's dangerous. and i just think we ought to try to protect it so that we have the ability to get somebody, if they're going to get on a plane or not, or hopefully you catch them a lot earlier. if we have to catch them getting on a plane, there has been a
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failure in the system. >> can i follow up on that? >> just a sec. go ahead, but normally people ask to be called on. go ahead. >> so there's no clear line yet between isis and aqap? is this just sort of -- we can speculate that they may work together? is there -- >> we know that they all have relationships. they have had intermediary exchanges. we know that. remember, once they were decertified, they became -- they decided they were going to go their own direction. again, their goals and intentions are exactly the same. there isn't a fraction of a difference. the tactics of how they get there may have been different. zawahiri's position with them was, if i can't control you, i'm not going to have you as part of our group. and he did that primarily because being part of aq gets you financing, it gets you status, it gets you recruits. what i think he underestimated is that these folks were winning
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on the battlefield. and when you're winning on the battlefield, that in and of itself attracts other jihadists because they want to be part of the winning team, if you will. and so they're the same, they're exactly the same. they still have this kind of funny respect for each other. again, i'd look at it -- when they have a difference, they'll fight you. but when there's mutual benefit, they'll be together. it's really the same kind of thing. they are al qaeda-minded, no different. when establishing the caliphate they'll use all the political tools of violence to do it. >> a couple of mechanical things, we're about halfway through. anybody who came in late and wants a question, wave your hand at me. mr. gizzi? >> thank you, dave. mr. chairman. >> sir. >> picking up on your analogy of the organized crime family, it has been said that some of america's friend in the middle east that we depend on -- saudi
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arabia, qatar -- are akin to merchants in the the city paying protection money to don vito corleone 98 when it comes to isil or some of the other terrorist groups.when it comes or some of the other terrorist groups. do you have any solid evidence that qatar, saudi arabia, are indeed also paying isil or other terrorist groups and what can be done about it? because when they talk about a winning coalition, your colleagues on capitol hill inevitably talk about those countries, not iran. >> well, i think we -- and again, this is a product of indecision in a very difficult neighborhood. so when you see a problem in the middle east, you have to deal with it, end of story. deciding that we're not going to deal with it as some notion of foreign policy framework, this is what you get. so let me talk to you through
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that. early on in syria, our arab league partners came to us and said, we want the united states not -- this is not about boots on the ground, it's not about big military, but we need your help. we need your help with some command and control. we want you helping guide any support -- think of this -- any support that the arab league is producing, so that we do this in a way that is vetted properly and doesn't come back to bite us. wow. very reasonable offer. and the united states response was, nope. that's too hard, we're not going to do it. and so what happened was, other parts of that arab league started to fracture. which is why you needed the united states showing the leadership role at the table. that would have been a very, very important role for us to play. and so we know for a fact that some of the supplies that some of those arab league countries were supplying were getting in the hands of extremists. and it also caused, because of
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the way that was ramped up, even our arab league partners started fighting amongst themselves or disagreeing amongst themselves because they realized one country was more aggressive than the other country and some of those materials were ending up in a place that was bad for even their own national security interests. and so that's how this problem got started. and the united states never quite weighed in. i have had significant appeals from our arab league partners to me personally, i know other members have as well, about their frustration with the lack of united states engagement and leadership on these issues. and because of it, we watched that a lot of that money and weapons did migrate its way to the most violent extremists operating in eastern syria. and that empowered the very problem that we have today. and as frustrating as that is i still think there's an
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opportunity to re-engage. candidly, having the secretary of state just show of for a chat isn't going to do it. they need to see something. as one arab makileague leader t me about two years ago, if you are not going to sit at the table with us, you don't get to lecture us as what that table looks like. that's what you saw happening and unfolding. now, nobody -- it didn't make big news at the time. but that was really the gas that got thrown on the fire to allow isis to start to develop, because they had access to all this really good equipment. and again, certain of those arab league countries didn't really mind fit went to extremests. think figured they could deal with that later what is they told us. but having the u.s. not sitting at the table was a huge problem. >> what was the timetable on this? >> well, we've known about this for what, three years? so the discussions happened the first course of those 12 months.
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and every month over end, our opportunity to impact this got worse and worse. so the options you had at three years weren't the options you had at 24 months weren't the options you had at 18 months ago. i mean, it completely deteriorated before our eyes. and we watched all of this happen, which was i think highly unfortunate. which to me, again, this is why engagement's important in the world. this fight we have now about isolationism versus engagement. this is why engagement is so important. >> paul? >> chairman, can you look down to our southern border and what do you see there as a threat to the united states, the story for the past couple of weeks has been about this 70,000 unaccompanied kids coming across the border. is there something else there that might worry you? >> well, i can tell you the first trip i took as chairman of
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the committee was to mexico. why? we had the real opportunity for failed northern provinces in mexico, failed governing states. that is a huge national security risk to the united states. so these organized criminal elements down there were controlling huge swaths of land. the fighting you saw was because there was lack of police authority and the bad guys were winning and they were policing themselves. they had these rival gang fights and all of the beheadings and the laying the bodies on the roadways. that was telling you we were well on our way to something pretty awful happening. and even with the 70,000 kids, they're not getting in vw vans and driving up on a nice country drive to get up through central america and through mexico into the united states. these are controlled by criminal elements. and what outrages me is that there is no compassion in allowing these criminal elements, because i'll guarantee you there is slave trade issues
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going on, exposure to drugs. you've already heard the reports about they're trying to figure out which ones can be recruited into gangs before they get up here. this is pretty awful stuff. and so i do worry about that failed -- those failed northern states. we have done some good things with mexico. it's -- i think in some ways it's getting a little better. they have been very leery about having direct u.s. support. but we know some of our other success stories around central and south america -- colombia being a great example -- is now in a position where they might be able to help mexico, train their counterterrorism forces, train their counter narcotics forces, that i think could be impactful. but it's been a long, slow road. and in the meantime, you know, you get on the south side of that mexican border, it is as lawless as it gets. and if that truly devolves into failed states, we're going to have a significant security
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threat from our southern border. >> guy? >> thanks for being here, mr. chairman. i think it's pretty -- it's certainly interesting we're having this public conversation now about what isil actually is and what its relationship to the other affiliates happens to be. what i'm interested in is what you've seen in terms of this recent surge by the group and its alliances with sunni groups in iraq that aren't necessarily aligned with this idea of creating an islamist caliphate, might actually be partners in the administration's push for an inclusion government in baghdad. what is the nexus between these two groups? how reliant on moderate sunnis has isl become in iraq, one. and then two is, you know, what
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specifically should we be doing? i mean, you're in a unique position as a senior member of the oversight community of the ic. and we all are hearing people say, the administration did this wrong, the administration -- what actually could we be doing differently than sending 300 fusion cell troops in, what should we do right now? >> we have a good history on why are the sunni tribes joining isil in their march toward baghdad? and if you look at what happened in the establishment of the taliban in afghanistan, so because of the outer regions, and they had some differences with the leadership in kabul, that there were horrible corruption, horrible injustices being done to the tribes that weren't in power. and the taliban came in, mullah omar got his start because there was some allegation of a rape of i think a 14-year-old girl.
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and no justice was done. mullah omar came in and meted justice on the spot. dragged somebody out in the street and hung him, i think. i think he hung him. and it started this swell of, hey, that's pretty good. what the other government was doing wasn't so good. well, what they found once the taliban took over is, this is pretty awful. right? looked pretty good at the time, turns out, pretty awful. stoning of women. made it illegal to teach little girls how to read. pretty brutal stuff. can't leave your house, if you're a woman, without a male escort. even if that male escort is 6 years old. i mean, it's really kind of crazy stuff, right? so then that's when all the chafing started in afghanistan. we saw the same thing in libya to a lesser degree. people joined together because they were against moammar gadhafi. once it was done they said, wait a minute this more radical sharia law implementation, not to me. so that's what you see brewing in libya. it is exactly the same thing
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happening in iraq. the sunni tribal leaders are pushing back against what they view as an unjust, unfair, corrupt shia-led government by maliki. and they're not going to put up with it. what they're finding now, when they take over a city like mosul and they're applying sharia law, that chafing is already starting. they're not -- because it takes away the sunni tribe leadership. now they're no longer quite in charge. the mullahs lose a little influence in that kind of arrangement. soer would seei-- so we're seei that happening. that was the same thing that was happened into this '06 for the awakening that separated the sunni tribes from zhao carr re in iraq. we're seeing some of that. so i argue that you cannot allow isil to continue to have success the way it is. there has to be a disruptive activity. that means maybe training camps.
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that means you have to directly target command and control and leadership in a way that's disruptive. and one of the things about air strikes or not air strikes, that's a tactic. we ought not -- the president shouldn't be debating over a tactic, neither should we. we should be talking about a strategy. air strikes may be a part of, that, it may not be a part of that. a special forces raid may be a part of that, it may not be a part of that. we have to have a strategy that goes after isil leadership and its logistic trains, by the way which starts in syria. you really can't be effective if you don't take away their safe haven in eastern syria. the reason they're controlling those border points is they know that that's the way they're going to continue to resupply their efforts all across iraq. and vice versa. if they ever decide to turn that around and head toward lebanon, they're going to need that supply line both ways. the united states has unique capabilities and i'm not talking about troops on the ground.
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when i say troops on the ground, big troops on the ground. 101st airborne, the 4th infantry division. holding ground. the 1st marine -- that's not what we're talking about. what we're talking about, a strategic disruption of isil. that will give breathing room for political reconciliation to happen in baghdad. i don't think you'll ever get political reconciliation until you get some breathing room. we don't have leverage the way we're operating currently. and even the very thought that we're going to have a conversation with iran about this solution, you can imagine all the calls that we get from our arab league partners about what a god-awful idea that is. right? some of these things they need to stop talking at that level and start applying a strategic solution to this so that we can show some disruption, stop their momentum, hurt their command and control, hurt their logistics base. so make them have to reconsider
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what aggressive offensive operations that they take. >> we go to the gentleman in the green tie. i'm blanking on the name, i apologize. then to katherine, then to franci francine. >> hi. >> now further known as the gentleman with the green tie. >> these senior moments are terrible, let me tell you. >> i think i've not worn this green tie in two years. legislative priorities for you before you key part? you have a few things on the plate. you not the intelligence operation bill. i don't know what you were looking at before you left. >> yeah, we want to finish up the fisa legislation to make sure that we can get our -- the nsa and others focused on all of the threats versus looking over their shoulder. at what is a tidal wave of misinformation about what they do. that's going to be important to get that so that americans kind of re-engage in the confidence that their intelligence service
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is there to keep them safe, which by the way they are. that's important. we just got the 2014 bill done yesterday. why that's important, the authorization bill, excuse me -- is because there's lots of reforms in there. some of those reforms are based on making sure our security clearance operations have changed a little bit so that we're more accurate at catching somebody who may be going bad and, say, stealing a whole bunch of stuff and running to places like, i don't know, moscow. the 2015 budget also makes some important investments which we have to get done. continue our dominance in space. we're at the back end of that arrangement. we better pick up our pace or we're going to be in trouble. making sure we're making the right investment in our ability to protect ourselves from what is a growing list of countries and nonnation states' cyber capabilities which is again very, very concerned.
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we're on the back end of that one. we've got to pick up our pace. and continue our investment in human collection throughout the year. and lastly, this week we had a great round of negotiations in the last few weeks with the senate on an information-sharing bill. and so saxby chambliss and dianne feinstein are going to vote out a cyber-sharing bill this week, i think thursday. i think that's the day, thursday. this is going to be critically important if we are ever going to stay in front of this problem. this won't solve all our problems. but if we're ever going to stay in front of what is a growing threat matrix, just on cyber disruptive attacks, we have got to have this bill in place so that the private sector can protect itself. and right now, any offensive action we would take, indicting five chinese intelligence official hot we know are stealing our stuff, it exposes the 85% of networks that are private-sector networks that
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won't have the ability to withstand nation state style attacks both from an espionage perspective or disruption perspective. so those are my immediate priorities. then continue the internal policy debates we have on things like covert action and other things that i think we need to get right with the community. and hope to do that before i leave in january. >> katherine? >> yeah, thank you. thanks for doing this. >> welcome back. >> thank you. for a layperson, how would you characterize this relationship between isil and aqap, the skills that they're sharing, and is it this relationship that is driving public statements from others on the hill that it's a direct threat to the u.s. homeland? secondly, were there consistent, multiple, strategic warnings from the ic about isil, and if so, who failed to act on them? >> well, again, i'll start with the last part first. i argue this is a result of an indecision which i argue --
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indecision, which is a policy failure. this is not an intelligence failure, it's a policy failure. and it's pretty easy to blame the guys who are out standing in the dust trying to collect the right pieces of information. again, i'll say it one more time, i think this is important. we watched them pool up. we watched the debate between el nusra andivity sil. we watched the concern between the al qaeda leadership, zawahiri, about trying to get them back in the fold. we watched training camps get built and developed. we watched them get weapons. we watched them get finances. we watched western passport holders show up at these camps. we watched it all. we heard their stated intentions. the reason they're called the islamic state in iraq and the lavant is because they want the lavant, which is lebanon and syria and jordan. they want it all. and they've decided they're going -- they became strong enough to actually implement it.
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and again, the reason they're a small number of folks having a big success in places around iraq is the other policy failure, we're just packing up and going home. we don't care if all the troops are ready or not, we're just coming home because this is hard. and i think that was a major disaster. if you'd had a u.s. president -- i'm not talking about engaging combat operations in iraq every day. if you had a u.s. presence there, it would allow the security services to be more sustainable. it would have influenced the political fracturing we saw happen after we left. that's the whole purpose of that. so that you get better reconciliation. and you could have seen up close and personal the trouble that was being developed in syria. because syria was going to have this problem at some point. what we didn't understand early on was that isil was going to take such advantage of it. so those are all policy failures, in my mind, that has led to this. you can't blame the intelligence community, you can't blame
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congress. this is a foreign policy failure of a magnitude that will risk the security of the united states of america. so they need to shake themselves out of that and start coming up with a strategy to win this fight. >> so where does the buck stop on that? does it stop with the president? does it stop with the national security adviser? i mean, who failed to act here? >> well, i mean, ultimately it's the president of the united states. this is his policy of -- i forget what he calls it. don't do stupid something. what was it? >> i wasn't going to jump in there. >> what was that? if that -- and it's almost laughable that that is even the mindset of a national security team that -- they see the same threats we see. it's not like they didn't get the same stuff that we got. and some notion if we just don't do anything really hard, everything will be just fine, is absolutely -- i think it's a bit naive. it's a bit politically
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self-serving. that you're more concerned about what ratings you have at home than what threats happen overseas. that is a really dangerous mindset. and at some point they just keep doubling down on this notion that, well, this is -- now it's hard so let's stay out of it. okay, i get that. the problem is, they are threatening the united states of america. that's the problem. >> does it give you any pause, does it make you want to stay, do you regret your decision? >> you know -- i've been in public service now with the fbi and the army and the legislature for 28 years. that's a long time. this is an opportunity to talk to people hopefully in a way that i don't get the chance to talk to them now. i'm pigeonholed in that -- i love it, don't get me wrong, intelligence space. i think it's important work. i think most americans don't get to hear the other side of this conversation on why, if we had been engaged early, we may have avoided this problem.
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